Even in california, where neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude shall ever be tolerated, the state's own supreme court decided that lee should be returned to stovall as an act of kindness because the young master was so inexperienced as to bring his slave to a free state. Archy lee book cover image: san francisco history center, san francisco public library in early 1858, a series of events hostile to blacks happened in san francisco the case of the escaped slave, archy lee, heightened conflicts between pro- and anti-slavery contingents in town. Slavery in colonial california began with the systematic enslavement of indigenous californians the arrival of the spanish colonists introduced chattel slavery and involuntary servitude to the area white settlers from the southern and eastern united states brought their systems of organized slavery to california.
The story of california's underground railroad is an important but too little known struggle in the quest for freedom and equality the digital archive will document and present to the world a compelling chapter of california history. Archy lee, a fugitive slave is brought to trial in california's most celebrated fugitive slave case california's courts later free archy lee when it is shown that his master illegally hired him out to others in california for over a year. Archy lee was born into slavery in mississippi in 1840 and very little is known about his childhood lee was owned by charles stovall, and in 1857. Archy lee was born into slavery in mississippi in 1840 and very little is known about his childhood lee was owned by charles stovall, and in 1857, stovall moved to california from missouri, taking lee with him.
Archy lee was a mississippi slave brought to california by his owner, charles stovall once in the free state of california, archy lee rightly claimed his freedom once in the free state of. California colored convention members block stovall's slave ship, free lee with federal support, celebrate at mary pleasant's home by elaine elinson in 1857, the united states supreme court ruled in the infamous dred scott decision that slaves or descendants of slaves could not be us citizens and that, blacks had no rights which the. In california's early years, two african american freedom seekers, bridget biddy mason and archy lee sought their freedom through the state judicial system in contrast to dred scott in missouri, a slave state, they gained their freedom. He also served on the california supreme court, remembered for a notoriously racist decision in the archy lee slavery case burnett resigned from many of his important positions, including the governorship, where he was widely perceived a failure. Archy lee, a fugitive slave who had run away from his master in mississippi, aroused the attention of californians who held a variety of viewpoints on the fugitive slave law black americans throughout the state rallied in support of lee who, after three flip-flops in the state legal system during the year , won his freedom in 1858.
Archy lee was fed up with his slave master and he knew that in the state of california he was a free man, or so he thought stovall was outraged when he noticed that archy lee was missing his slave was worth a lot of money, and he wanted archy back because archy was smart and was mr stovall main income. The historic case of a black man's quest for freedom in 1850s california part courtroom drama, part adventure story, rudolph m lapp's archy lee captures the essence of the celebrated 1858 trial of an alleged fugitive slave in california. Note: citations are based on reference standards however, formatting rules can vary widely between applications and fields of interest or study the specific requirements or preferences of your reviewing publisher, classroom teacher, institution or organization should be applied. Terry was an advocate of the extension of slavery into california the archy lee case-lee's slave-owner, charles stovall, brought lee with him to sacramento, california on october 2, 1857. Did you find evidence that this underground network in the northwest helped other slaves no, not yet archy lee in california is as close as it gets he was free really because california was a.
Archy lee a california fugitive slave case rudolph m lapp with a foreword by shirley ann wilson moore on amazoncom free shipping on qualifying offers the slavery in. Archy lee was an african-american born into slavery in mississippi in 1840  lee's slave-owner, charles stovall, brought lee with him to sacramento, california on october 2, 1857.
Burnett wrote the majority opinion in a ruling on january 11, 1859 that would have returned a black man, archy lee, to slavery in mississippi even though he had been brought to california by his owner, and therefore by california law presumably was a free man. California underground railroad slavery, abolition (15) slavery (7) slavery, civil rights (7) legislation (2) abolitionist movement, slavery, civil war (1.
The archy lee case was moved to the highest court in california presiding over this court were three judges, two of whom were pro-slavery the supreme court simply said lee should be returned back into stovall's custody and into slavery. A type of slavery in california existed among the native peoples of that region long before the arrival of the first european colonists however, the arrival of the spanish colonists—participants in the atlantic slave trade and owners of both indian and african slaves—introduced such concepts as chattel slavery and involuntary servitude to the area. Slavery, in california in 1858 archy lee went to court against his former owner ca stovall to win his freedom [c a] stovall v archy [lee], a.